On the gold carpet at the film premiere there was already talk of a sequel to Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, if the fans want it they will get it Jennifer Saunders said. Although of course, she didn’t say when.
Famously a long time in the making, Joanna Lumley had hopes of an Ab Fab film as early as 1995, as did many of the TV sitcom’s fans. Now, finally, here it is; but was it worth the wait? Well… yes. Actually it was. In fact, this is exactly the type of film we need right about now. It is joyfully silly and packed with references and callbacks to the sitcom’s heyday. This could be seen as lazy writing, but really it just gives a chance for classic moments to be given a glitzy, movie magic sheen.
The very first scene disabuses the audience of any notion you might have that Eddy and Patsy have changed their ways now they are older. In fact it recalls the very first Ab Fab episode, the only difference being the presence of Saffy’s teenage daughter Lola (hardcore fans, wasn’t Lola really called Jane by her mother?) and Eddy assures us that 60 is the new 40.
That may be, but PR does not have the baffling dazzle it once did. Listen I was a PR and I still don’t know what they do. Claudia Bing rules the PR roost and Edina’s credit cards aren’t working (nor is the strange, unnecessary subplot that goes nowhere concerning her ex husband Marshall), she and Patsy need “hand-money.” In a bid to solve their financial woes Patsy and Eddy hatch a plan for the Huki Muki party to grab Kate Moss as a client – in the process pushing her into the Thames, leaving the fashion world in mourning and baying for blood. Eddy’s blood. The most well co-ordinated mob ever.
The biggest story regarding the film is the huge amount of cameos made, with Graham Norton, Lulu, Emma Bunton, Jon Hamm, Kate Moss and pretty much the complete fashion set. Now… we are all familiar with the unfair saying ‘those that can’t, teach’, perhaps we should promote the maxim ‘those who cameo, can’t act’. While the presence of Stella McCartney does provide a good Eddy line about TK Maxx, a lot of the time the cameos cause the film to drag. Jon Hamm and Graham Norton, who can act (well, we all exaggerate), aren’t exploited enough, making their parts appear shoehorned in, while other stars seem to have had a little too much faith placed in their skills.
Of course all Ab Fab fans want to see is Eddy and Patsy. Eddy and Patsy running in heels, Eddy and Patsy giggling as they get drunker and higher, Eddy and Patsy bickering and Eddy and Patsy being downright vicious to the seemingly bulletproof Saffy. This is what we get and Joanna Lumley’s sheer glee at finally taking Patsy to the big screen is palpable. It is she that carries the film through with her hilarious sneering expressions, comic stupidity, hatred for Saffy and Saffy’s offspring and complete faith in Eddy.
Ab Fab is truly back, fatter and shinier than ever! A bit of sparkle in these bleak times. So, Jennifer Saunders I am obliged to say: cheers, thanks a lot.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is out in cinemas Friday 1st July